Fiona Keating scores her side’s goal, despite pressure from Kilkenny’s Michelle Teehan, during the Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship Final loss. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Football championships take centre stage

After two weeks of cracking hurling action, the focus this weekend is very much on football as the second round in the Bon Secour’s championships gets underway.

Like the hurling, some clubs will be qualified, others will be still in the hunt and for others their championship ambitions will be over which makes for another few days of enticing encounters.

Next week will also see the semi-finals of the divisional section of both championships taking place as the race for the knockout phase gathers momentum.

Premier Senior Football

Group A

The champions St Finbarr’s got off to a winning start by defeating Éire Óg and will be expected to make it two from two when they play Carrigaline on Sunday at 2pm in Páirc Uí Rinn, they might have Stephen Sherlock back but even if he is not fit, they have enough quality in Ian Maguire, Sam Ryan, Brian Hayes and Cillian Myers Murphy to get the win further boosted by the hurlers’ great win over the ‘Rockies last week.

Bandon is the venue for the meeting of Éire Óg and Carbery Rangers at 4pm on Sunday and the latter boosted by their first round win might just edge this one, but the Mid-Cork side are a tough nut to crack and will certainly make it tough for Ross.

Group B

Valley Rovers got the better of Douglas in round 1 and now face a Mallow side on a high right now following good results in hurling and a win on opening day against Ballincollig.

Mattie Taylor is in good form for the North Cork side and they could keep their winning run going, 7pm on Saturday in Coachford for this game.

Ballincollig and Douglas meet in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 4pm. Douglas were beaten semi-finalists last year but a defeat here will end their ambitions and with the absence of key players not helping, Ballincollig should collect the points on offer.

Group C

Clonakilty will surely be well populated on Saturday at 7pm, for what is potentially the game of the weekend. Castlehaven play Nemo Rangers, two sides many will feel have the capacity to dislodge the ‘Barr’s from their lofty position as champions.

There’s so much quality on both sides: the Hurleys, Cahalanes, Rory Maguire for the ‘Haven, Luke Connolly, Micheál Aodh Martin, Mark Cronin, Paul Kerrigan and Kevin O’Donovan for Nemo; this is really hard to call, a draw possibly.

There’s a West Cork derby between Clonakilty and Newcestown on Sunday in Bandon at 2pm; the dual demands of the latter in recent weeks may impact on Newcestown’s challenge but they are a resilient bunch and they will certainly test last year’s runners-up, but Clon should prevail.

Senior A

Group A

Clyda Rovers with Conor Corbett back in action and in goal scoring form, had a win first time out - narrowly it must be said, and will be confident of getting a second victory when they take on Newmarket - who lost heavily in the first round, on Friday in Kanturk at 7pm.

O’Donovan Rossa and Ilen Rovers meet in another big West Cork derby at 2pm on Sunday in Castlehaven. Rovers have not had the best of runs lately and the odds favour the Skibbereen lads winning this one.

Group B

There was very little between the 4 teams in this group first time out, Ballingeary and Doheny’s drew while only a goal separated Kiskeam and Bandon, it could be just as tight this weekend.

In Macroom on Saturday at 4pm, it’s Ballingeary and Kiskeam, a nod to Kiskeam, while in Ballinacarriga on Friday at 7.30pm, it’s Doheny’s v Bandon, perhaps we will go for a draw in this one.

Group C

At 7pm on Saturday, Watergrasshill is the venue for the meeting of first round winners Fermoy and St Michael’s, and this should be a lively encounter with the latter slight favourites.

Bishopstown and Knocknagree meet in Mallow on Sunday at 2pm with a lot at stake for both as another defeat will end the hopes of making the knockout phase. It’s been a long few years for JF Daly’s side and a litany of injuries might just tip the balance for Bishopstown, although their dual commitments will test them.

Premier Intermediate

There was a number of surprising results in this grade on day 1, not least Nemo’s deserved win over Cill Na Martra. Now they face fellow Mid-Cork side Iveleary in a must win game, that might give them enough motivation to keep their season alive.

Equally Nemo face a St Vincent’s side on the back of a very heavy defeat and possibly having to play without the suspended Blake Murphy - Nemo to make it two wins on the bounce in group A.

In Group B, Castletownbere were easy winners over Na Piarsaigh and now play Bantry Blues who beat Aghada in round 1, should be a lively encounter in the picturesque Adrigole venue but the form of Ruairi Deane might tip the scales Bantry’s way.

Aghada might just be too strong for Na Piarsaigh when they meet in Carrigtwohill.

In Group C, Kanturk may be finding it hard to get a result in hurling but the Walsh family led them to an easy win over Naomh Aban in round 1 and they should get the better of Duhallow rivals Rockchapel, while Macroom only lost by 1 point last time and will probably win their all-Mid-Cork clash with Naomh Aban.

Intermediate A

Glanworth v Glenville - verdict Glanworth, St Nick’s v Kildorrery - verdict St Nick’s.

Aghabullogue v St Finbarrs - verdict St Finbarr’s, Ballinora v Dromtarrife - verdict Dromtarrife.

Mitchelstown v Glanmire verdict - Mitchelstown, Boherbue v Millstreet verdict - Boherbue.

Kilshannig v Adrigole - verdict Kilshannig, Ballydesmond v Gabrield Rangers - verdict Gabriel Rangers.

Divisional semi-finals

After a long wait, these will be played early next week where for the first time MTU and UCC enter the fray as do the footballers of Duhallow and hurlers of Imokilly.

On Tuesday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm, Imokilly with what I believe is a strong team on duty will be expected to beat MTU.

There are 3 games on Wednesday with UCC doubly engaged in football, they play Carbery in Macroom where the divisional side might shade it, but the student hurlers will be favoured to beat Avondhu in Mourneabbey.

The final game sees UCC playing Duhallow in football - the one division despite the club activity that always prepare reasonably well and that might stand to them when they meet in Glantane - all games at 7.30pm.

The finals in both codes form part of a double-header on 21 Sunday.

Tough day in Croke Park

It was not to be for both Cork camogie teams in Croke Park last Sunday as by a combined margin of 3 points, the bid for the clean sweep of All-Ireland titles came up just short, but not after herculean effort by both teams.

The Intermediate team will regret a few missed opportunities and as Joanne Casey said on Monday, a miscalculation on her part when going for a goal from a 57th minute free believing they were 3 points down, as against 2 and playing a Galway side with 14 players. It was saved and with it went Cork’s chance of the win.

In the senior game, failing to score for 20 minutes in the first half - it was 25 minutes in the semi-final - ultimately proved their undoing. That and a goal late on that had a hint of good fortune about it, which swung cracking game, Kilkenny’s way.

Cork did have chances and Ashling Thompson’s brave effort with virtually the last puck of the game was inches away from forcing a replay.

Both players and management were devastated by the result and coming up short for the second year in a row really hurt, as did the criticism they received from last year’s coach on the evening version of ‘The Sunday Game’.

Finally the tragedy that befell the parish and club of Clonoulty-Rossmore on Friday last really put sport and all it entails puts everything into perspective.

Sincere sympathy to the family, friends, playing colleagues of Dillon Quirke, taken too soon, may his gentle soul rest in peace.